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Kaiku Finance, LLC is a financial institution that began in 2010 in Los Angeles, California. It features a prepaid Visa debit card. It is the only product that has been introduced by this company. In close competition with Green Dot and American Express, this card costs less and has more features. Kaiku Visa is accepted in locations around the universe. The CEO of Kaiku Financial is Jon Round, a business with over 20 years of experience in the prepaid card industry.

 

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The Good

  • Features and services
  • Free to activate
  • Rewards

Features and Services

Kaiku Visa is a product that brings the cashless era to a broader market of consumers.  It offers the same services that its competitors do, such as mobile banking, online banking, bill pay, check deposit and money transfers.  However, those who struggled with high interest rates and other inconveniences, or simply prefer not to have them, can now enjoy additional features that are not offered by other prepaid cards.

Free to Activate

Kaiku is free to activate and only charges $3 if monthly direct deposit is not made.  The deposit does not have to be a payroll or government deposit; $750 from any source will suffice.  Load money onto it with cash, a credit card, another Kaiku card, or a bank account.  For cash deposits, customers can go to any Money Gram or Visa ReadyLink location.  Kaiku has no restrictions on the type of checks that can be deposited.

Kaiku Visa is accepted anywhere Visa cards can be used. Even more convenient is transferring funds with Kaiku.  Send payment or money to anyone else's card with no problem. The free 55,000 ATM's can be found in the following regions:

  • United States
  • Canada
  • Puerto Rico
  • Mexico
  • Australia
  • UK

Rewards

Rewards are a big part of the Kaiku community.  They reward customers and have been rewarded for their customer service.  Kaiku customers receive a $10 reward when the person they referred spends at least $100 with their new Kaiku card.  Kaiku Financial itself, is the recipient of several awards from Paybefore Awards, a program sponsored by Paybefore magazine.  According to this information source for the prepaid and mobile payment industry, Kaiku has been awarded 3 years in a row for the features and functions of their card.

The mobile app is one of the most convenient apps of its kind.  It is a virtual bank at your fingertips.  Customers can do everything from this app that they can do online.

The Bad

  • Fees
  • Customer complaints

Fees

Kaiku Visa users are not devoid of fees, unfortunately.  The cost to load cash onto the card is between $2.95 and $4.95.  For immediate access to funds from a mobile deposit, Kaiku charges the customer 1% or 4%, depending on the type of check, but the charge is definitely a minimum of $5.  Fees vary on out of network ATM transactions and OTC cash withdrawals, based on the participating bank branches.

The website is very simple.  There is very little information about the company itself, and even less information about the products and services they offer.  The design targets high school or young college students, as though they are the only people who would need or benefit from Kaiku Visa.

Customer Complaints

Customers had problems with the app causing their phones to freeze, being unable to access their accounts or complete other transactions after updates, and with crashing and closing activity after a check is deposited.
Some cardholders received a negative balance they had to pay off instead of receiving compensation when their cards was stolen and used. Common complaints of current Kaiku users include:

  • Deposits freezing
  • Fraudulent use of debit card
  • Problems with large deposits
  • Access to funds freezing
  • Money disappearing temporarily

One particular case that is quite memorable involved an income tax deposit and the immediate freezing of the account after 1 transaction.  After several failed attempts to gain access to his account and funds, the customer requested that the funds be sent back to the IRS to receive them directly from them.  After 3 months of communication with Kaiku and the IRS, who reported they cannot dispense funds they never received, this matter remains unresolved.

The Bottom Line

Kaiku Financial, LLC is a financial institution that has one product, which is the Kaiku Visa.  Their pitch is to invite customers to leave their old banks for a newer and better prepaid card experience.  However, most customers who have done so beg to differ.  The two major services Kaiku claims to offer are not what they are advertised to be.

Kaiku states that they only charge two fees, and those fees are avoidable.  In reality, those fees are avoidable, but there are 4 other fees that are not.  Their mobile app is presented as a product that has a wide variety of features that make mobile banking with Kaiku just as efficient as going into a branch office, but with all the conveniences of banking on the go.  However, users experience a lot of technical difficulties and only received a Google rating of 3.7.  This is a poor rating, as well as a sad reality, for a mobile app from which most transactions are made.  Furthermore, customers have only one other option, which defeats the purpose of using this business. Those that use Kaiku can expect the following:

  1. Mobile and online banking
  2. Bill pay
  3. Simple transfers
  4. Temporary freezing of accounts

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User Reviews

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2 Reviews

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William Richbourg
October 10th, 2017

I have had an account with Kaiku prepaid Visa card for Approx 3 years now. I have not had any problems with this company until 4 months ago when they informed me the company was closing their company so to speak. My account as well as all of the other accounts they service. I had a specified time to get my funds out and if I didn't in that amount of time Kaiku would issue a check for the remaining balance and mail it to me. I got most of my money out but the specified time limit ended a week earlier than I was told over the phone and in a written notice from Kaiku. I was unable to withdrawal the remainder of my funds due to their withdrawal terms plus the time limit ending a week sooner than I was promised. I haven't been able talk to anyone at Kaiku or Bancorp which is their underwriter. The phone number for Kaiku is basically a non working number and Bancorp is obviously covering for Kaiku because they told me my account didn't exist and never had existed. To my surprise it appears they are taking on new customers through their website. Not sure what to do..

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Richard Traylor
June 29th, 2016 Alabaster, AL

Kaiku is not real up to date on security for the consumer 2 times I have had my account drain out by same person in Ireland within a month and have to wait 10 well I got my card on 11 day. I have medical problems and all I get from customer service is I'm sorry but nothing they can do . Visa has gone down hill . Discovery will stop people from getting your money this company gives people cards to your account.